Underneath the pretty mug marked
There’s the Sunday paper, the section with the column written weekly by a scholarly and kind, solid in the faith, teacher of the faith man.
I’ve not read it.
I opened my daily things and read the Utmost for His Highest daily devotion on the phone.
Left it there, walked out with the dog and thought it too much for me, I’m very deficient, I’m not far enough along to learn from this spiritual compilation of a master of God’s word, Oswald Chambers.
Often I wonder about those who read mine and maybe others’ blogs that either proclaim or hint at our faith.
Do I make it seem so doggone hard that a reader might decide, good gracious I’m better off on my own?
This morning, I opened my tiny and edge torn book, Joy and Strength, a collection of verses and very ancient quotes.
First line was the wisdom of Paul, the murderous villain who was a hater of Jesus, the closing chapter of Philippians, a book marked heavily by my pencil
a note under the header: “Read the book of Philippians, God will reveal what you need to remember.”
“Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therein to be content.”
Philippians 4:11 RV1885
The words I have learned are my takeaway today.
Because it tells me Paul wants me to know, this deciding to surrender your life and your knowing to God,
It is not easy.
I love it so much that he says he had to learn and that he learned through the good and the bad, the celebration and the disappointment.
He learned through circumstances.
He made it through.
Before Paul spoke of contentment and learning he wrote about mindfulness.
Mindfulness meaning, think of all the good, don’t let your thoughts go towards what you’re lacking.
Think about what elicits praise.
Maybe Paul kept a little gratitude journal.
practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.”
Philippians 4:9 ESV
The decision to believe wholeheartedly in Jesus is not like the “poof…snap of the finger”!
It’s commitment with doubt occasionally on the edges.
It is certainty that the life you have now is significantly more peaceful than before and it is a patient endeavor, a decisive continuation towards knowing God more.
Baby steps. Always baby steps I believe it should be.
Content in the valley and peak, the ebb and flow.
Spurred on by the Holy Spirit’s empowerment, strength in our core.
I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.
I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”
Philippians 4:12-13 ESV
Thank you, God, for your rescue of Paul, a teacher for me and for every human who may have stumbled, fallen, been wrong or done wrong.
Paul, now compared to Kanye and Bieber, a bad, bad man who Jesus believed in, believed could do better, be better, begin again.
I don’t really know the hearts of either of them. Only God and they know whether it’s true, whether they have chosen the way of peace.
I turn now to the column called “Faith Words” by Fred Andrea.
In the column, he writes about the stubborn Jonah, his ideas about worthy or unworthy people, his decision to run the opposite way of God’s leading and then learning a big lesson only to have to be taught again.
We are all learners, stubborn at times, pitiful and even pious.
This is why it jumped off the page this morning, will stick with me as meant for me.
Paul’s strong statement, “I have learned…”
Reassuring for me.
Continue. Continue and believe.
Learning is peace.